About a year ago, my husband and I packed up all of our belongings and moved from St. Louis to our current apartment in Chicago. We rented a PODS container and we used HireAHelper for the “muscle” portion of our move. I’m not saying it was a good time, because is moving ever really fun? But it actually wasn’t too incredibly painful, and we both lived to tell the tale. In fact, we detailed our moving escapade right here on the HireAHelper blog.
Because we had such a positive experience with our moving container move, I figured I would offer some tips & tricks that might help if you’re thinking about going this same route. I’m no moving container expert, but I do have some
wise words to share. So here are some questions you should ask yourself before you go with a moving container.
1. Is a moving container your best option?
We ultimately decided to go with a moving container, specifically because we didn’t have our new place yet. It seemed like a waste of time to rent a truck, move our stuff to storage, and then do it all over again once we finally found our new home. So if you don’t know your new address…a container might be your best option. Keep in mind that many moving companies allow you to store your container for one month for free. So that could be a cost-effective way to keep your belongings safe and secure while you find a new home.
It’s also a good option if you don’t feel comfortable driving a large truck. The container will be transported by the professionals…all you have to worry about is loading it up.
2. Is your stuff going to fit inside?
Again, another good question to consider before taking the moving container plunge. If you live in a huuuuge house and you’re moving long-distance…then a container might not be the most affordable option. Our move was only a couple hundred miles and we only packed up 2 bedrooms of belongings…so it was the most affordable option. Take your belongings into account before you call the container company.
3. Where are you going to put the container?
City dwellers…listen up! Depending on where you live, there could be restrictions on where and for how long you can park your container. It all depends on the container company and the city, so you’ll have to do your research. In St. Louis, we consulted our building management to get the go-ahead with the container on their property, and PODS handled registering the device with the city (it could stay up to a week in the alley). But in Chicago, it was a different story. Containers are not permitted on the streets or in alleys, so they can’t be delivered to some Chicago zip codes. However, PODS does partner with moving companies who will “shuttle” your stuff from your container to your new home…but you have to pay extra for this service.
If you’re a suburbanite you’re more likely to be in the clear, especially if you have room to park the container directly on your driveway. Plus, this allows you more time to load/unload the container.
4. How are you going to load the container?
Movers are not typically included in the cost for containers, so you’ll need to find your own manpower. You can load it yourself, or hire moving labor to make a Hybrid Move (what’s a Hybrid Move?). Either way… make sure you have a plan.
- Consider renting a dollie or a cart to shuttle larger items.
- Start with heavy items and make sure they sit directly on the floor of the container.
- Maximize space and fill gaps with boxes and other small items.
- Protect your belongings with moving blankets (for more info about those bad boys read this post & this one!)
- Make sure you have a lock so you can lock up the container when it’s finally all packed!
- Read our secret guide to loading a moving truck (tips apply to containers too) that we published to help educate helpers listed on HireAHelper
5. Where is the container going?
Storage: Like I said before, most container companies offer 1 month of free storage. But after that you’re gonna have to open up that wallet of yours. Most companies have secure storage facilities for the containers, and you can keep them there for quite some time. Keep in mind that you might not be able to access your container, so be careful what you pack.
New Address: Again, you’re going to need to take your new residence into consideration. Can you park on the driveway? Does the city allow a moving container to stay overnight? What are the fees and permits involved? Do your research on your new city before your move.
So if you still think a moving container is right for your move, then be sure to check out the Moving 101 Moving Container section on HireAHelper. Price comparison, storage size guide, company reviews…they’ve got it all covered.